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No one wins in NGC/CNC battle

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Anything but an amicable settlement of the gas supply dispute between the National Gas Company (NGC) and Caribbean Nitrogen Company (CNC) will have dire consequences for the country. Particularly at this time of economic challenges, when the energy sector is enduring significant revenue shortfalls with a domino effect in downstream industries, all sides are facing substantial losses. The best case scenario would be for the two companies to return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith. Concessions may have to be made at either end but the objective should be to arrive at the best outcome for T&T.

As it now stands, the shutdown of the gas supply to CNC’s ammonia plant at Point Lisas has put more than 400 jobs on the line. This, coming just a few short years after the permanent closure of the Arcelor Mittal plant which was also based at Point Lisas, could have unwanted social and economic consequences.

However, at the same time, NGC should not be yoked by an uneconomic, unsustainable gas price arrangement. Here’s hoping for an amicable settlement without having to seek a ruling by the Court of Arbitration in the United Kingdom.

A crime hidden in plain sight

For a long time it was believed that T&T was mainly a destination country for trafficking in persons. However, evidence is mounting that this is also a source country, with victims being lured into forced labour and even sexual exploitation. The challenge with human trafficking is that it is the type of crime that can be easily committed in plain sight, so there is need for more awareness and activism.

Juanita Headley, a young New York-based attorney, is currently in the country as part of her ongoing mission for the abolition of human trafficking and her message should be taken seriously. Not just men and women, but even children as young as five years old, are being targeted by traffickers. Eradicating this scourge requires that law-abiding citizens be more vigilant, as well as willing to report suspicious activities.

The authorities also have to ramp up efforts in prosecuting trafficking crimes and protecting victims.

A weekend of pan

Lovers of steelpan music are in for a treat this weekend when Panorama 2018 kicks into high gear with the semifinal round of competition in the Small, Medium and Large Conventional bands categories taking place today and tomorrow at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain. These will also be the first major events for the season at the venue, the Mecca of all things Carnival. Here’s to a successful weekend of pan.


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